I'm in Utah, staying at the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird. It is quite beautiful here. I spent a fair number of my formative years in Utah, and I spent a fair number of them at Alta, just up the road from here. I feel a strange kind of nostalgia coming back to Utah, I don't really know anyone here anymore, but seeing how the area has changed...what's the same, what's different, is interesting.
As with every trip back to Salt Lake, it comes down to the Mountains. It's like they're imprinted on me. Really, the horizon along the wasatch front, not so much from climbing or anything, just by having it as the long running parallax scrolling backdrop leading into my early high school years. I'm hoping to take the tram up to the top of the mountain on Tuesday.
But why, you ask, am I in Utah again? I'm attending the CRA annual conference. I'm running a panel tomorrow with some folks from CMU and PSU. This is a funny kind of show for me. I'm used to interacting with developers directly, and not so much with academia. You see, at Google the Open Source Programs Office (which I help to run, as you might have guessed) funds a variety of projects in Universities and we fund the development of open source software and run other projects that impact students like the Summer of Code, and that's kind of why I'm here.
One thing that I've been hearing much about here is the slackening supply of students who want to become computer scientists. I had heard a bit about this before coming, but I didn't realize that if you compare 1999 and now, the number has been cut in -half-. Why? People have theories....the dot-com collapse, the fear of having one's profession outsourced, etc, but it's a little disheartening.